What Education Is Needed for a Career As a Manufacturing Engineer?

See what kind of training is required for manufacturing engineers. Get the facts about undergraduate and graduate programs, and learn more about certification, potential earnings and the job outlook. Schools offering Machining & Manufacturing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Essential Information

Manufacturing engineers design and supervise the processes and systems needed to produce any type of product, from chemical compounds to computers. A four-year Bachelor of Science in Engineering from an accredited university is the minimum education needed for a career as a manufacturing engineer, but many professionals also go on to obtain a Master of Engineering and professional certification.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $81,490 (for industrial engineers)
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 5% (for industrial engineers)
Possible Careers Banking, communications, healthcare, transportation, information technology
Similar Occupations Cost estimators, architectural and engineering managers, health and safety engineers, industrial engineering technicians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate Degrees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), a bachelor's degree in engineering is a prerequisite for most engineering professions. Future manufacturing engineers should try to major in an area such as industrial engineering. For instance, the ABET-accredited industrial engineering program at Pennsylvania State University prepares students for careers in manufacturing engineering with course offerings in areas such as quality control, manufacturing process design, and manufacturing systems operations.

Graduate Degree

A bachelor's degree in engineering may be enough to gain entry-level employment as a manufacturing engineer. However, according to the BLS, a graduate degree is essential for engineers who would like to teach, conduct research, or obtain high-level, managerial positions. Obtaining a master's degree can also help manufacturing engineers learn about new technologies and theories.

Pennsylvania State University, for example, offers a practice-oriented Master of Science in Industrial Engineering with a concentration in manufacturing engineering. It also offers a theory-oriented Master of Science in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis on manufacturing engineering. Courses in the M.S. program cover topics in metal cutting theory, metal casting, and computer control of manufacturing systems. Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis option.

Certification

Although not required, obtaining certification as a manufacturing engineer can help professionals stay up to date on industry developments and boost their careers, according to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. This professional society administers the Certified Manufacturing Engineering Certification. To obtain this credential, manufacturing engineers with at least eight years of combined engineering-related education work experience must pass a four-hour exam testing both general and career-specific knowledge.

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